Church of Ireland

This guide was last updated in 2010

The Church of Ireland was the Established church until 1870 and, therefore, records start from a far earlier period.

Indeed from 1634 there was a requirement for local churches to keep registers of christenings and burials (burial records were also kept unlike in Catholic records). Hence in urban areas you may be able to find parish records as early as the mid 17th century, although the majority commence from around 1770 to 1820. As it was the Established Church legally only marriages sanctioned by this Church were deemed to be valid in theory (although in practice this was not the case). Nevertheless many marriages of other Protestant churches were recorded in these registers.

After the disestablishment of the Church in 1870, the registers were deemed to be public records (pre 1845 for marriages and pre 1871 for baptisms and burials) and required to be deposited in the Public Record Office. Almost half of the country’s registers were kept there by 1922 and the resulting fire in that year meant that all these deposited records were lost. However, the other half were held locally and copies were also made of some registers that had been deposited at the PRO.

Surviving records can be found in a number of places. You can begin by searching online using the same sites mentioned above. In Ireland many records are held locally still by the clergy. Otherwise, you may find some records in the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin, the PRONI or the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin.

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